Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just go ahead ...

and give me the Mother of the Year award: His mouth is full of broccoli.

Thank you, thank you.

Short post tonight on account of the visit of the Maternal Grandparents and the incessant needs of the pre-teen grammar tyrants. This past week, one of them sent me an email with the word "variegated" in it. I only thought that word could be applied to Lantana, a native Hawaiian plant that landscapers in the southeast love because you can't kill it and it doubles in size every day. It's like a combo ground cover and showcase flowerbed perennial (you know, like those kind they put in front of large apartment complexes or business entrances). Mostly yellow, the buds are made up of conglomerations of miniature sunbursts. Sometimes, however, they can be orange AND yellow (i.e., variegated). Apparently, so can subordinate clauses.


Other reasons I should be MotY:


Here he is learning to use a knife and fork to cut his chicken and bok choy burritio [sic]. Somehow I got the Mexican Dinner Night ingredients confused with those flagged for Asian Night and we ended up with tortillas filled with chicken and chopped bok choy. And it was good, y'all. Add to the list of retirement options: Culinary School.

And now, the third and final reason that I should at least be nominated for MotY ...


Forget about the Muscle Man, and please look down at his food ... the bowl is full of Black Bean & Tomato Spaghetti with a side of steamed broccoli (see first photo on this page) and grilled catfish. WHOLE. WHEAT. SPAGHETTI. I made it with leftover black beans from the aforementioned burritio night.

Sometimes you have good ideas about food combinations. Sometimes you don't. But dadgummit I know how to use a pot of leftover slow-cooked, cumin-infused black beans.

Thank you again.

Iyi geceler.

(That's Turkish for "good night.")

Monday, June 25, 2007

All Hail to Parma-John!

For more, click here: Flickr!

I update Flickr weekly with pictures, in case you've forgotten.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

When the Paternals "dropped by" (from Milwaukee) and Other Tales

I love Nanny's twisted-up kiss and the Goose's expression. This one's a keeper.

Another cute one:


(Notice, dear reader, the lovely black dishwasher in the background, which hasn't worked in two years but has lately decided to engage in a charming little ritual wherein a terrific sulfurous odor wafts from the area just before your feet get soaked from the flooding. Not that I would ever complain about a free house!)

And of course there's Grampy:


And one thing the Paternal Grandfather learned on this visit was all about chigger season. Today I went to Target with the express purpose of purchasing the strongest chemical on the market in order to protect my family. Some people keep guns. We keep deet (and guns). It’s really too bad that you can’t just shoot a chigger (or a chigger colony). I definitely believe that the founding fathers would’ve considered that to be part of my 2nd amendment rights. The horrendous beasts have caused John to look like he has the chicken pox and sometimes I have to excuse myself from class to go to the restroom and scratch. Because you know where chiggers get.

Somebody just called Delilah to report that she has seven teenagers living in the same house with her and her 3rd husband. Y’all pray for them.

I am teaching again (online) for the Center for Talented Youth at the Johns Hopkins University ... an enrichment program for ubersmarty middle schoolers from the Northeast (e.g., Connecticut, Home of Frenchy aka Wannabedean – so typical). There are also some Californians and – this semester – someone in Taiwan. It’s not clear that he’s Taiwanese though … his mom emailed me to say that although they're currently in Taipei, they will be in India next week, so please note the time difference (presumably, in case I need to call her about any pressing issues with her son’s analysis of prepositions functioning as adverbials of time/place/reason, and why they are so common). I always get such a kick out of this job. My primary place of employment cuts back our contact hours in the summer, so I’m doing this to keep my income relatively stable so that John can attend preschool and I can still buy ridiculous amounts of eye make-up and Burt’s Bees colored lip gloss. Don’t tell Dave.

What's that? You want to know about the other members of the family … well, besides the chorus of scratching, The Husband has become increasingly allergic to something in the air here and is on steroids, and The Goose has become obsessed with Hansel & Gretel. Try explaining the concept of oral tradition (folk tales) to an authorial-obsessed 2.75 year old ... "Who is wrote this book, Mama?" I have created a monster. And nevermind the part of the story where, as The Goose says, “the little girl push the big girl in a oven and the big girl put out smoke.” What do we make of that? What does HE make of that? I don’t know, but we saw it live (with puppets) at our supercool downtown library where there is a PUPPET THEATER (complete with fancy lights and curtains and real smoke and marionettes and hand puppets and bunraku experts and everything). We are also interested in The Stonecutter, which is currently playing in said theater. Here we are in all of our authorless glory:

storytime and greenery

And one other tidbit about the Hansel and Gretel phase. When I was first considering taking him to the puppet show several weeks ago, I called the library to inquire about why it was listed as "School Age Event" on their website. The librarian who answered said this: "Well, it's Hansel and Gretel, so there are children in peril. I think you can judge for yourself about the extent to which this sort of scenario might affect your own child." Touché! And considering that he overlooked the horrific mother, the theme of child abandonment, and the issue of "the big girl" (aka The Witch) wanting to eat Hansel, I'd say he's not an overly sensitive child. But all words spoken or written shall, at some future time, be eaten, so let's leave it at that.

In other news ...

Things are GROWING!

Zinnias and basil:

storytime and greenery


storytime and greenery

And coneflowers (echinacea):

storytime and greenery

I'm not sure why fertilizer is ever needed since composting is SO easy and effective, but don't even get me started on agriculture. I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by, my favorite, Barbara Kingsolver. 'Bout time she got back to work.

And now I must go and do some more analysis of grammar exercises too difficult for the average college freshman, but clearly cake for a certain set of 13 year olds.

As The Goose says (ship or no ship) ...


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Turtle Season, The Development of Direct-Reported Speech, & My Terrible Life

In case you aren't familiar, turtle season is the time when most of the female turtles from the lake find their way into our yard and lay eggs for other animals to dig up and eat. Sad as it is, that's what happens. We find the remains of their leathery eggs all over. This little sweetie was found in the backyard ...

So, The Guys moved her ...

But she was stuck, so we moved her out front

to the front, so she could find her way back to the lake.

It was a big deal.

Today when he woke up from his nap, I said, "What did you and Dad do this morning?" This is what he said:

"First we went the lie-berry and pay on the payground. Then I said, "Dad can I get a veejo?" And dad said, "No, we have veejos at home."

And that, folks, is DIRECT-REPORTED speech. It's way high up on the language acquisition ladder. I mean, I think it's like on the level of a 5-year old or something. Not that I keep up or look stuff like that up on the internet and then confirm it in my old linguistics textbooks.

In other news ...

WARNING: The next few paragraphs are long-winded and whiny.

Today was not a good day for me. It started out with "Uh-oh. I'm wet" at 5 a.m.ish. Which is not at all like Amish, even though my nightgown is:

Don't get me up at 5 a.m. to watch "All about John Deere Tractors"

We watched 45 minutes of "All About John Deere Tractors and Big Machines."

Then, I had one of those days at work where my students wanted to argue about the meaning of the word "push" as associated with used car dealers ... like "that salesman was pushing a lemon on me." What's the difference between "push, force, convince, and persuade"? And OK, so that's difficult, but let's just move on after 20 minutes, you know? Let's talk about the difference between "bored" and "boring" or something "interesting" that I'm "interested" in. And then I came home a little tense and did my usual routine ... try not to eat ... change clothes ... do yoga before the Master awakeneth from his nap.

But also, earlier today I posted a whole lotta stuff on Craigslist which I am trying to sell in the hopes that we will be moving soon to a smaller house that is not in the middle of a forest and has cable and fast internet. So this woman called and Brian answered and since she was having lots of problems with English, he did the unthinkable: He interrupted me and Rodney Yee during the standing poses segment. So I get on the phone and attempt to understand what seems to be about 90% Mandarin Chinese, 5% English, and 5% background noise. She was interested in my old "Bed in a Bag." So we discussed it ... it's "red" ... it goes on a "bed" ... and then she wanted to come get it, so I started giving directions. At this point she hands the phone over to one of the Background Noisemakers (who, by the way, speaks with native-like proficiency). I give directions -- in excruciating detail -- and she's writing it all down ... repeating it back to me ... it's been like 10 minutes now ... Rodney is paused ... suspended indefinitely in triangle pose ... and then she says "OK, so what are you selling?"

Me: "A bed in a bag ... a reversible comforter with shams, sheets, and valances."

Her: "Oh. It's not the whole bed and mattress?"

Me (inside my head): NO IT'S NOT THE WHOLE BED! OF COURSE IT'S NOT THE WHOLE BED!!! FOR $40!!!???!!!

Me (out loud): No ma'am. It's just the stuff that goes on top of the bed.

Her: Oh. We thought you were selling the whole bed. Sorry.

I had to start all over with the sun salutations to synchronize my body, mind, and breath. I had to do handstands and headstands and backbends and I don't know what all to calm my central nervous system. And during all of that calming time, I killed two flies on my mat and some weird see-through arachnid with a large black dot on its head which was biting the devil out of my leg during RELAXATION POSE. I think I need to take a larger dose of my daily medication.

In other news ...

Yesterday the guys mowed the grass:

Mowing the ... clover

The End.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Notice the unzipped PFD

Some ranger he is. This was in the local neighborhood paper on the front page! We're not sure how he was selected, but who better for a photo op on a canoe?

Well it has been a week. I started school and that's always nuts, but I have a light load this summer.

I'm out of steam tonight, but I would like to send a shout out to Ernie, "Joanna," and Sister Mary for their lovely hospitality yesterday afternoon. We so enjoyed our strawberry ice cream and lemon squares and sweet tea and dog petting and John Deere lawnmower rides. And of course the gifts! Four vehicles, one of which is a "conn-rete mixer" and a John Deere tractor floor puzzle:

yet another John Deere

When The Dad came home from playing basketball he said, "Look what Mama did!" He didn't mention the fact that despite the "Ages 3 and up" label, it took this 30-year old nearly half an hour to put that together. I think I yelled at him to GET BACK several times and spilled coffee once, while sweating, trying to figure that thing out. He ripped it apart promptly. So THANKS Joanna ... we miss seeing you around here.

Otherwise, we have been gardening:


Left to right: sunflowers, lettuce, turnips, peppers, onions, wildflowers and wildtomatoes. Our compost heap is so potent that tomatoes randomly spring up wherever we spread the compost. And despite the other rangers' claims that peppers were impossible to grow from seeds, we have successfully germinated almost 20 plants! And if you or your small city need marigolds, come see us.

This is The Goose and I during our nightly ritual of weeding, deadheading, and checking for aphids:

maters, marigolds, and muscles

We also have some lovely native flowers, including coreopsis and coneflower (echinacea). The backyard has enough mint to keep Trident in business, and I found a lone purple petunia coming up in the yard where, apparently, I dumped out the hanging pot last year and likely spilled a little compost and wham! Purple Wave. It looks lovely in its pot with orange marigolds. I love the contrast of purple and orange flowers. My retirement goal is to own my own plant nursery. Either that or learning acupuncture.

OK, I'm fading, but I have to post these recent Goosequotes:

  • You're a sweet girl, Mom.
  • Got in trouble. Had a attitude. Need to not yell.
  • You know about John Deere tractors? They're kinda like Grandaddy's orange Kubota tractor with the bush-hog attachment.
  • You know about bush-hogs? They're kinda attachments.
  • There's the carbon-oxide deteckor. There it is. Is not a smoke ateckor. Is different.
  • Mom, who wrote this Barney video?
  • When Ms. Mary says GO POTTY just say NO THANK YOU. Don't yell and scream. Don't have a attitude.
  • Look at this cowboy hat! Has a tag! That tag in that shirt might bother me. Cut it out.

Never a dull moment.

Happy June!